Police took a high-tech approach to crack a series of robberies at the same Winnipeg 7-Eleven store over the span of a few weeks this winter.
A tracking device placed among merchandise at the Edison Avenue store, along with camera surveillance and data from an apartment block's electronic door lock, led police to identify suspects in the string of early-morning knock-overs, the has learned.
Police said Tuesday arrests had been made in connection with robberies there on Jan. 27, Jan. 5 and Dec. 16.
One suspect is further accused of holding up the store just after 1 a.m. Nov. 12 while disguised and armed with what appeared to be a handgun.
More than $800 worth of cigarettes were taken, prosecutors disclosed at a recent bail hearing.
The next robbery about a month later included 85 packs of cigarettes and nearly $800 in Winnipeg Transit passes, prosecutor Brent Davidson said.
Investigators got crafty after the Jan. 5 holdup.
They initiated a project in an effort to crack the case, Davidson said. One tactic used was to place a tracking device among items, he said.
Two suspects robbed the store around 3:40 a.m. Jan. 27. The device was among the $4,407 worth of cigarettes, lottery tickets and transit passes that were taken, Davidson told court.
The tracker led police to a nearby apartment block where suspects "were observed to be throwing it out the window," Davidson said.
Police examined camera footage and keycard data on relevant dates to bolster their suspicions and identify a female suspect, he said.
DNA evidence was being tested as of Tuesday, Davidson said.
"It's an extremely strong case for the Crown," Davidson told Judge Judith Elliott.
Lynette Faykes, 32, and Erik William Deboer-Borud, 19, were identified by police as the accused on Tuesday.
While Deboer-Borud remained in custody pending a bail hearing, Elliott agreed on Friday to release Faykes on several conditions, including banning her from going to any 7-Eleven store in Manitoba.
Faykes and Deboer-Borud are presumed innocent.